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Charles Sobhraj in Kathmandu Jail

Sent February 26, 2007

David and I visited the local prison today looking for foreigners in jail to talk to. Sort of a long story about my relationship with the Kathmandu jail, but I visit on occasion. Anyway - we met "Charles" from France. The list of foreigners in the guard house said he was in jail for "murder"!!! David wasn't shy and asked right away, "So what happened?" Charles skirted the question by saying, "Everything went wrong. It is very complicated." He didn't give us any details.... He wouldn't talk about it. He has been in there for three years now. Very ...weird. He asked me to call his wife when I am in Paris. !! :) I have her number....!

It is an interesting experience to visit the jail here. David was curious so we went. We brought Charles some snacks - caramel corn, my favorite - and tea and soap... He didn't give as much information as some prisoners do. But it sounds like he has a private room with cable TV! Weird. Sort of a strange feeling to have met a murderer....though he seems to think he will be free and back in Paris at the end of March.. ?? He didn't seem like a murderer.. I wonder what happened.. That was our adventure for today. If this makes no sense and sounds too strange -- I'll explain more when I get home.. :)

On the way back to the hotel I asked David if he thought anything would come up if we were to Google Charles. David didn't think so. I will try Googling later.

Usually we might go to the prison to visit American prisoners, young 20-somethings who were caught with drugs or other small crimes who might be stuck there many years who need a good book to read and chocolate. This time, we happened to pick the “murderer” assuming mostly that since he was from France, he would be more likely to speak English than the next guy from Sierra Leon, for example. There was no one from an English speaking country in prison when we were there which was a good thing.

While sitting on the small bench that faced the bars where the prisoners sit on the other side, remarkably, I actually recognized another prisoner!!!! He was behind the bars on the side with Charles. As he passed he said, "Hi Heather". David looked totally shocked, and I was even more shocked. This guy works at a shop in the tourist area. Someone who came on one of my trips did some shopping there. We spent a lot of time in the store, had tea, etc., (a common shopping ritual in Nepal). Ever since then, each time I walk by that store, this man is standing at his shop and he says, "Hi Heather". What do you know - this time I see him in jail. He briefly tried to explain he had loaned his cell phone to someone who was making fake passports or visas or something like that and that he was completely innocent...and had a trial coming up, etc. David tried to pass a Toblerone chocolate bar through the metal gate for him and was stopped by the guard. We had to take the candy bar to the other door were they checked for hidden files before giving it to the prisoner.

Sent February 27

I googled Charles. Oh my GOD!!! Did I actually give this man caramel corn?!


Heather O'Neal

Of Global Interest Adventure Travel

Ann Arbor, Michigan

(734) 369-3107

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